Carta a Los Reyes Magos: Free Printable and Activities

by | Dec 12, 2018

Inside: Printable Carta a Los Reyes Magos, and resources for teaching about Los Tres Reyes.

While children in the U.S. and other countries are busy writing to Santa, other children are addressing their letters to Los Reyes Magos: the three wisemen who visited baby Jesus. They’ll leave their shoes out, along with straw and water, and wake up the next morning expecting a gift. Where is this tradition from, and what does it involve?

 

Los Reyes Magos

 

The story of three kings visiting the Christ child stretches back 2,000 years. According to the gospel of Matthew, several Magi from the East made the journey to bring the newborn king three royal gifts– gold, frankincense, and myrrh– following a strange star that had appeared in the sky. 

Since then, Western Church tradition has recorded them as Balthasar (king of Arabia), Melchior (king of Persia), and Gaspar (king of India). Catholic traditions such as those in Spain use these names, though Syrian and Eastern churches record other names.

 

Reyes Magos

 

Many Christians celebrate Los Reyes Magos on Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, which falls on January 6th. Many families in the Spanish-speaking world leave their Christmas tree up until Epiphany, and have the tradition of children receiving gifts that day. January 5th is a day of parades, in which the Three Kings are reenacted as the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, throwing sweets to people watching in the streets.

In many places, children write letters to the Tres Reyes Magos in anticipation of Epiphany. The night of January 5th, they leave their shoes by the fireplace, doors, or windows. Many families leave food for the Magi, as well as straw and water for the camels, or a box of greens. During the night, the Magi will travel the world and leave gifts. When kids wake up in the morning, they find presents (sometimes wrapped, sometimes candy or money) where they left their shoes. Sometimes they also find that the food has been nibbled at, or even disappeared!

 

Roscón de Reyes

 

In some parts of the world (including Spain and Mexico), families eat a ring-shaped cake with candied fruit on top, and sometimes cream in the middle. The fruit represents the jewels from the Reyes Magos, and inside are two hidden objects: a faba bean, and figurine (in some parts, it’s a king, or Magi, in others it’s a different figure). The person who find the figurine in their slice gets crowned king or queen of the day. The unlucky person who gets the bean has to pay for the roscón!

Roscón de Reyes

 

 

Activities for Los Reyes Magos

 

To learn more about the traditions surrounding the Reyes Magos, I’ve got a round-up of resources below, to help you teach about them in the classroom or at home.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Books About Día de Los Reyes

 

Here are some suggestions for learning about the Reyes Magos through picture books in Spanish. Remember that if you are working with Spanish learners and the text is too advanced, you can do a “book talk”– simply narrating the text in more comprehensible language. 

Cartas
a Los Reyes Magos

 

If you’d like to write a letter to the Reyes Magos, I’ve got some fun templates for different ages and learners. They include editable versions, so you can adjust to the proficiency levels of your students. Click here or on the image to download the set!

If you have students who can learn about religion in the context of culture, but feel uncomfortable “participating” in a religious holiday with something like a letter, the set includes a more neutral reflection on the past year for older students. 

Carta a Los Reyes Magos

Crafts and Ideas

 

Preschool/Elementary:

 

Make Paper Shoes for Three Kings’ Day from Mundo de Pepita

Slideshare Presentation on Los Reyes Magos

Mini-Bundle on The Three Kings in Spanish from Monarca Language

 

Middle/High School:

 

Video and Text on Los Reyes Magos from Si Quieres Aprender

 

Intermediate Article in Spanish about Los Tres Reyes Magos from Veinte Mundos

Presentation, Games, and Activities Based on Reyes Magos Video from Elena Lopez

Cultural Activities: El Día de los Reyes Magos reading and game from the Comprehensible Classroom

Reading Activities Using Tweets about Los Reyes Magos from For the Love of Spanish

 
 
Sudoku on Día de Reyes from Comprendes Mendez SpanishShop
 

Infographs

 

Try this adorable and comprehensible infograph from Mundo de Pepita, perfect for a younger crowd, or these options:

Credit: Horacero

Credit: Notimex

Videos

 

Here are some videos that show different traditions and the story behind the Magi, for different ages and proficiency levels.

 

Cute & quick silent video showing a children leaving his shoes out:

 

Dora salva el día de los Reyes Magos:

 

Comprehensible news clip on Los Tres Reyes (heads up that one of the kings uses blackface to represent one king–this is a controversial practice that people are now bringing attention to, and I would at least discuss it):

 

News clip on Día de Los Reyes, with lots of interviews with kids:

 

Spanish family explains the differences between celebrations in the US and Spain:

 

Video showing a family’s preparations in Puerto Rico:

 

How Julie from Mundo de Pepita introduces Los Reyes Magos to her elementary students:

 

“La Otra Carta,” a sweet commercial about kids writing letters to the three kings:

 

Traditional song “Llegaron Ya Los Reyes Tres” with traditional Andean Music:

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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